Brussels, 18 November 2021 (TDI): Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission; Oliver Varhelyi, Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement and Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA Commissioner-General, on 17 November signed a Joint Declaration on the EU’s support to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) for the duration 2021-2024.

This renewal marks a 50-year partnership of the EU and United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). The Joint Declaration sets out the European Union’s commitment that it will continue to uphold UNRWA both financially and politically. This is to ensure that UNRWA can fulfill its mandate and provide fundamental services to Palestinian refugees.

This comprises educating more than half of Palestinian children, primary health care for over 3.5 million people, and essential help to the most vulnerable people.

UNRWA reiterated its support for neutrality and efficiency as well as its ongoing reforms and modernization efforts. They addressed this topic at the International Conference supporting UNRWA on 16 Nov.

Official’s Statement 

Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU stated, “UNRWA has played an important role in contributing vital services for millions of Palestinian refugees settling in its five operational areas. The EU has committed to continue its financial and political support for the Agency. This includes providing long-term reliability. UNRWA’s ongoing support is an important element of our strategy to contribute to security, stability, and development as well as the preservation of the prospect of durable peace between Israel & Palestine.”

 Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi stated, “The EU continues its role as a reliable donor to UNRWA. The EU recently provided EUR92million to assist with urgent cash flow issues and salaries. Moreover, we will continue our collaboration with UNRWA to improve governance, transparency, and conformity with UN principles including neutrality. And we will continue supporting quality education for Palestinian children and compliance with UNESCO education guidelines.”

Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA General Commissioner, thanked Europe and expressed gratitude for their long-standing support. “For half a century, the EU stood shoulder by shoulder with Palestine refugees. They provided UNRWA with the political and financial support they needed. UNRWA plays a crucial role in mitigating regional crises and supporting long-term human development for Palestine refugees. We have combined our efforts to contribute significantly towards the Middle East’s most extraordinary human development and helped millions of Palestinian refugees achieve key sustainable development objectives.” he added.